ESG Investing: Investors Want More Support


There is a knowledge gap when it comes to sustainable investing. According to a study published by Vontobel Asset Management, many investors do not have the necessary information to invest their savings sustainably, even though increased environmental awareness is already playing a big role in their consumer behavior. It is the financial industry’s responsibility to educate them.

Worldwide, 73% of savers and investors believe that companies should act more ethically. However, only 29% of them have made investments decisions according to ESG principles. These findings are the result of a study of approximately 4,600 consumers in 14 countries, commissioned by Vontobel Asset Management. The respondents see financial advisors as playing a vital role when it comes to educating the public on the subject of ethical investing.

Of all respondents, 59% said they were unaware that ESG factors can be taken into account when making investment decisions, although almost half of them (47%) said they would like to have more information on ESG. Only 17% of those surveyed said that they had been given an investment recommendation in line with ESG criteria.

The message of the study is clear: While more and more savers and investors would gladly adopt an ESG approach when making financial decisions, many people are holding back because of a lack of support and advice.

“This is an opportunity for financial service providers to give investors the tools they need to invest in accordance with their personal values and convictions,” says Axel Schwarzer, Head of Vontobel Asset Management. “Accordingly, we intend to strengthen our cooperation with brokers and financial advisors, expand our product range, and take targeted action to improve access to sustainable investment approaches.”

Globally, ESG investments are now among the strategies with the highest growth rates. For example, between 2016 and the end of 2018, the assets invested in sustainable investments increased by more than a third to more than 30,500 billion US dollars. Vontobel anticipates that demand for sustainable investment solutions will continue to rise, partly as a result of the EU's "Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth." The action plan will help to ensure that investors focus more on sustainable investing.

Vontobel clients have benefitted from our broad range of sustainable investment solutions since the 1990s, making Vontobel a pioneer in the field of sustainable investing. According to a market study by Swiss Sustainable Finance, Vontobel is the third-largest provider of sustainable investments in Switzerland. In the first half of 2019, Vontobel’s assets under management that are managed according to sustainability criteria grew from over 23 billion Swiss francs (as of December 31, 2018) to over 28 billion Swiss francs (as of June 30, 2019).

Vontobel Asset Management
Vontobel Asset Management is an active asset manager with global reach and a multi-boutique approach. Each of our boutiques draws on specialized investment strategies, a strong performance culture and robust risk management. We deliver attractive solutions for both institutional and private clients. Our commitment to active management empowers us to invest on the basis of our convictions. This allows our highly specialized teams to generate value added for our clients. Employing around 400 professionals worldwide, including 180 investment specialists, we operate across 16 locations in Switzerland, Europe and the US. We develop strategies and solutions covering equities, fixed income, and multi-asset investments. The goal of achieving excellent and repeatable performance has been fundamental to our approach since 1988. A strong and stable shareholder structure guarantees our entrepreneurial independence and protects the long-term mindset that guides our decision-making.

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